Friday, 30 April 2010

Inspired by my son...


In times of uncertainty attitude in life can go either of 2 ways: it can be easy to lose focus and let things slip or push on harder.

Despite having had his 'official goodbye' cinema trip with his mates and hoping not to attend school next week - as his end of year 9 tests arrive, my oldest son Josh is working like a trooper. This week he brought home a certificate for achieving the highest mark in the school for the UK mathematical challenge.

Last night he was also at a presentation with the Hillingdon Mayor where he received a Jack Petchey Award (the lad grinning on the right of the Mayor in the photo).
The reason he was nominated by other students was:
"He is really easy to talk to and you can rely on him to be there for you in good and bad times. He is never in trouble at school and always tries his hardest. He works hard but is also a good friend. He enjoys the school day and if anyone is ever feeling sad he will be there straight away to make them smile..."

Son - I am so proud of you!

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Finish Well


I find new beginnings so exciting and always give a 100% to a fresh start; whether trying to do my best hand writing on the first page of an exercise book at school, diligently attempting a New Year's resolution or learning a new skill like riding the unicycle.

In this move to Australia I am learning to appreciate how important it is to finish well. On Saturday night The Crown Church laid on a fantastic farewell party for our family: A slide show of various events showing how we have all changed (aged) over the past 8 years; a video from the youth for my kids; more curry than even I could eat and throughout the evening in the background was Australian music (Rolf Harris songs and the Neighbours theme tune!) The Church have been tremendous in their love and support and are sending us superbly well.

I have also wanted to serve The Crown to the best of my ability right up until the moment I leave and have even told James to email me in Australia if he thinks of anything I have forgotten.

Today being my last day in the office meant I have cleared everything out: all my books have been taken home, pictures of my kids taken down and packed away, I have lost count of the amount of sacks of paper I have recycled. Some days I have been perched in my chair for more hours than I have slept in my bed (a terrible reflection on my ministry) but the chair is no longer mine.

I plan to spend some time preparing for Perth before we leave. I hope to have broken through the 'finishing line' at full speed and trust God that I will end my life in the same fashion.

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Age..

I have always joked that I am 24, looking back it was a vintage year: I started work, brought a house and got married! I was young enough to think I could still do anything (I still try and kid myself that most things are possible) and yet old enough to start earning money!

Last week was my birthday and I had a wonderful day. Nicky brought me some walking boots (at least it wasn't slippers) and we tried them out on a 9 mile hike. We went out for lunch and then I fell asleep in the warm sunny garden before having a great Mexican meal and going to the cinema as a family in the evening.

Lois jokes that I am now 24 with 18 years experience and has asked me to dye my hair rather than go grey.

What is it about age?
Why as childen do we pretend to be older and yet as adults we go to great lengths to retain eternal youth? Let's be honest do you intentionally lie about your age when asked? (as opposed to being so old you forget)

In looking for wisdom on this subject I came across a quote from Abraham Lincoln:
And in the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years.

How are you using the years that God has given you?

Sunday, 25 April 2010

Marathon Girl!


This morning I was up at 5:45am as a dedicated dad to get my 12year old daughter, Lois, ready to take part in the London Virgin Mini-Marathon.

Lois has been running once a week with Hillingdon Athletics for about a year. Last month she competed in a trial over 3 miles and did really well securing a place in our local Borough team. Since then Lois has been practising by pounding the streets. Occasionally I have ventured out with her to coach - though shouting the whole way round and made me worry that our relationship would be spoiled for ever. Lois is the forgiving type and so when we got home and she had improved she thanked me!

Our whole family excitedly went to cheer her on today and she did really well - a personal best! (I hope that our shouting and whistle blowing helped and did not put her off)

Lois has always been a great plucky girl who will give anything a go and I am so proud of how well she has does...Move over Paula Radcliffe.

That's my girl!

Thursday, 22 April 2010

A trip down memory lane...


Last night Nicky and I had the privilege of being prayed for in Sidcup at a prayer meeting as part of the week of prayer for New Community Church.

It was thrilling to meet old, or should I say, young friends from years ago! So encouraging when nervously stepping out to have the support of those who have known you for years cheering you on. So reassuring in a time of uncertainty to be in a context of faith where the focus is on how great God is and hearing His plans for the future!

Whilst in the area Nicky and I had a quick tour round and got all nostalgic: we visited Greenwich University where we both studied and met; we loitered outside and photographed the 2 houses that we lived in and drove past the 2 schools where we taught. We even discovered the football field where I played for a Saturday team has not been built on and that the place where we had our first date is still standing.

I know the kids would have been bored and needed to be bribed to visit and reflect on the past. I loved it - maybe it's an age thing.
Nicky and I both have such happy memories of our time in South East London but have benefited from and enjoyed moving on with new experiences and new people we have come into contact with.

The past is certain but who knows what the future holds? Who knows where we will live and who we will meet? The thrill of adventure is that we head into the unknown.

Ultimately I don't know what the future holds but I do know who holds the future!

Monday, 19 April 2010

The Crown Church



"The world is constantly changed by committed minorities and not by apathetic majorities...”

Yesterday was my last sermon at The Crown Church and I felt overwhelmed by people's love and appreciation.

Literally 8 years ago we launched as a church on Sunday mornings and what an amazing adventure it has been! Being a part of the great team and joining in with the thrilling adventure has been a tremendous high in my life.

We have grown from the 30 people we started with to gathering around 230 each Sunday morning. It has been so pleasing to run 27 Alpha Courses (our largest Supper had 109 attend!) and we have seen dozens saved and have baptised over 100 people. We have had 10 people serve brilliantly on the Frontier Project with us and celebrated many dedications and weddings. Our biggest morning was when the London Community Gospel Choir came, we had almost 500 there! Our own worship team has also served us so well - even producing their own CD last year (All eyes on Him)

I know that all of this has only been possible through the hard work and dedication of a mass of hugely motivated volunteers: the musicians, the kids team, the youth team, the finance team, the songpro tea, the pa team, the trustees, our cell leaders, the step by step (mums and toddlers group) team, the debt advice team, the International Students team... I could go on!

I have loved leading the church, with the elders and it has been my joy and privilege to serve The Crown.
I love you all!

If you have never been to The Crown, why not visit the web site and come along one Sunday:
The Crown Church

Sunday, 18 April 2010

Wonderful Families!



In the midst of the uncertainty and confusion about the sale of our house and what decision to make (thanks to all for your suggestions and support) it was sooo good to have time with both our families over the weekend:

On Friday night we were in Eastbourne at a bash hosted by Nicky's parents. Amazing to gather with friends that Nicky has known for decades...!The extended family also trooped out again despite having recently got together to see off Nicky's sister, Suzane, who left to study in Perth in January.

On Saturday afternoon we gathered at my parents house: my grandad, brother and family my uncles, aunts, cousins and second cousins. (A great bunch - why is it we only ever get together for weddings funerals and when people emmigrate?!)

As is so often the case you only really appreciate things when you are about to loose them. Nicky and I have both loved and appreciated the unrelenting support of our families but maybe haven't told you enough. Well here I go - we love you!

Who knows how the next stage of our journey will turn out? What we do know is that our families will be there rooting for us - thank you!

Friday, 16 April 2010

Decisions, decisions!


Is there anyone out there with any wisdom?

This morning I met with the estate agent who informed me that the first chain to buy my house has not worked - but hopefully he has set up a new one... (The first chain was only 3 people long and this one is 5 - how much commission must he be on?!)
If I accept this it will mean a 6-8 week delay in our move to Australia.

The other option is that I rent out my house. I am sure I will need to make some changes but could possibly do that in 2 weeks. The upside is that I could sell in a couple of years when the exchange rate has improved. The downside is that I could not afford to buy in Perth during that time.

If your name is Solomon or if you have any wisdom I would love to hear from you asap!

Emotionally it feels tough as this weekend we have planned goodbye parties to mine and Nicky's extended family and friends. On Monday my kids have goodbye parties with their school friends and The Crown Church have been told this is my last Sunday!

It is Isaac's birthday on 14th May and I have alreday ordered him a present and had it delivered to Perth - this may mean I have to buy him something else!
Don't ask about my emotional gauge it is so far in the red I can't read it!

Oh well I guess when Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water to Jesus it was not a mill pond - why should I expect everything to go smoothly?!

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

House Sale...

We have lived in and loved our house for just over 8 years. During that time we have decorated the whole thing: added a loft room, put in a downstairs toilet, knocked through the lounge and dining room, expanded the bathroom and built a garage and extended the kitchen! (As well as laying a patio at the back and doing the drive at the front)

We were delighted and pleased that despite the slow house market others admired the place and we accepted an offer after the house being on the market for 2 days.

However we learn that house buying is not like a Tesco shop where you take the things home that day in a carrier bag. It has now taken weeks for mortgages to be approved, surveys to be carried out and contracts to be signed and waiting at solicitors. (You can probably sense I am not the patient type!)

Therefore it was gutting yesterday to be told by the estate agent that they are not sure if the house buying chain will hold. Pressure will be applied this week to get the deposit at the start of the chain by Friday but if that does not happen we may have to start again!

Is this a test of faith? Was it all too smooth? Will things happen another way?
Hopefully I can let you know on Friday!

Sunday, 11 April 2010

Reading Family Church


What a privilege to join with Sean and Liz Green and their great church: Reading Family Church this morning. (www.readingfamilychurch.org.uk)

The radical crowd started just over 8 years ago and they are a zealous bunch who have made an impact and continue to grow: they have now started an evening service. They have generously agreed to give us prayer and financial support - thanks alot!

Sean & Liz have been tremendous friends to us over the past 14 years: people you can relax with, have good fun together and learn from their passion for family and Jesus! (I know that I am getting carried away - but couldn't help crying as we left their house wondering when we will see them next!)

We will so miss our get togethers and hope they can come to visit us one day in Perth!

Saturday, 10 April 2010

Out with the old!

The great weather today was a real help as the boys and I were up early and queuing to get into the local boot sale.

As well as saying goodbye to family friends now is a time to part with familiar treasurers. We have all decided that the family needs to slim down to a 20foot container, so lots that once was special and precious gets discarded. (I do not understand why people have to haggle me down from 50p to 20p for an item...it is my heart they are buying!)

The good news is that we raised almost enough money to replace the trampoline we have to leave behind with another in Australia.
So the process of gathering and hoarding begins and we have not even arrived.

Thursday, 8 April 2010

Farewell to friends


Today we met the Kellett family for one last splash in London.
Nicky and I have known Howie and Naomi for almost 19 years; it all began when we were 4 teachers attending a church in Sidcup, South East London.
In the years since we first met we have had 6 kids between us, been on lots of holidays together, celebrated New Year more times than I can remember and both planted a church. (Infact the Kelletts moved to Cheltenham to start their second church plant 9 months ago.... www.godfirst.org.uk)
Old friends will be missed as we head off to Australia (Praise God for Skype!) but we look forward to making some new ones!

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Band of Brothers


Great to assemble the Cornford clan in London for one last time.

Over Easter the 15 of us have packed in so much: spending precious time talking, eating and visiting London together. The 7 chidren get along so well and even let us 3 brothers beat them at football down the park.

Time to remember the good old days and feel the distance we will be apart. Also exciting to look ahead at the new adventure and to start looking at flight prices to see when we can meet up in Perth!

Friday, 2 April 2010

GOOD Friday

Matt Redman says it so well in his song - I can add nothing else!

I will love you for the cross
And I will love you for the cost
Man of sufferings
Bringer of my peace

You came into a world of shame
And paid the price we could not pay
Death that brought me life
Blood that brought me home
Death that brought me life
Blood that brought me home

And I love you for the cross
I'm overwhelmed by the mystery
I love you for the cost
That Jesus you would do this for me
When you were broken, you were beaten,
You were punished, I go free
You were wounded and rejected
In your mercy - I am healed

Jesus Christ the sinners friend
Does this kindness know no bounds
With your precious blood
you have purchased me

Oh the mystery of the cross
You were punished you were crushed
But that punishment has become my peace
Yes that punishment has become my peace